I have an old Takumar 50mm f/4 macro lens. It’s an m42 mount lens from the 1970s or thereabout, that I picked up used for a great price several years back. It’s all-manual, well-built, and very sharp in use. It spends most of its life tucked away in my gear bag; macro isn’t a large part of what I shoot. But every now and then it comes out.
I had it out earlier this spring, as my garden was just starting to come back to life. The hyacinth bulbs we have planted in the back had come up, their thick green leaves breaking through the mulch. No exaggeration, the plants grew measurably from one day to another, and it seemed that you could almost see them grow as you watched.
So out came the old Tak lens for some close-ups. With it came my tripod – underused as always – and I setup using the rear screen on the E-M5 for focusing and shooting.
I’m not a huge flower photographer, although I’ll probably torture you with some more posts soon, as my garden is exploding with color at the moment. But there’s something interesting about the plants themselves, and, I think, especially in this pre-flowering stage, when there’s so much growth and vitality packed into them.
Part of the fun of macro is the extremes it brings out. Extreme magnification and close-up ability, extreme shallow depth of field, extreme exposure conditions. It’s a chance to play, and I always try to shoot throughout the range of available options, from wide-open, super-shallow slice-of-life shots, to stopped-down depth shots. In the end I’m most often drawn to those made between f/4 and about f/8, where there’s a decent band of sharpness, but nothing too thick.
One last thing to mention, the photos in this post are a series, taken in three sets with several days between each, accounting for the growth. I’ve inserted them into the post in this same chronological order, with the plant at its “youngest” at the top and getting older as you read down.